There are many types of missions available to the player. The following are repeatable (AKA "generic").
Several are duplicates with different titles but it is possible they have different requirements in terms of reputation and/or license ownership. The table below characterises ones that have been identified so far but it's incomplete so please feel free to help fill it in.
Many generic missions are found in the Mission Bulletin Board System (BBS) but some, from across the difficulty spectrum, are not found in the BBS and must instead be found by flying near stations to find their icons. Generally speaking, those hidden ones are more shady in nature (an exception being "My ship left me behind!"). Note: hidden missions are available in the BBS once its icon has been found and scanned.
Available missions (some tips are below the table)
|Build||New Station Required||Yes||Reward for building a station for yourself in the sector|
|Supply Reassurance||Yes||Reward for building a station for yourself in the sector|
|Explore||Supply Recovery||No||Open lockboxes and deliver contents|
|Lost In Transit||No||Open lockboxes and deliver contents (illegal)|
|Medical Emergency||No||Open lockboxes and deliver contents|
|Quick Pickup||No||Open lockboxes and deliver contents (illegal)|
|Hack||Hacking Specialist Wanted||No||Piracy: Hack station turrets (needs Security Decryption Device)|
|Scan||Info Collection Required||No||Corporate espionage: Scan a faction's station|
|Sensitive Data Required||No||Scan station|
|Scan Anomaly (HoL DLC only)||Yes||Checking out peculiar signals in a new system|
|Think||Anti-Smuggler Operations||?||Police||Scan ships and destroy ships with illegal wares|
|Problematic Dealers||?||Police||Scan ships and destroy ships with illegal wares|
|Deal Right Here!||?||Purchase rough coordinates to a lockbox and scan it down|
|Exactly What You Need!||Yes||Purchase rough coordinates to a lockbox and scan it down|
|Sale of the Century!||Yes||Purchase location for loot and scan it down|
|Selling Fairly Priced Ship||Yes||Purchase location for a ship and scan it down|
|Ship for Sale||Yes||Purchase location for a ship and scan it down|
|Valuable Cache for Sale||Yes||Purchase location for loot and scan it down|
|Valuable Items Going Spare||Yes||Purchase location for loot and scan it down|
|Delivery||$WARE$ Shortage!**||Yes||Deliver a ware to a station|
|$WARE$ for Victory!||Yes||Deliver a ware to a station|
|$WARE$ Supply Required!||Yes||Harvest resource in specified zone and deliver to station|
|High-Grade $WARE$ Required!||Yes||Harvest resource in specified zone and deliver to station|
|Document Collection||No||Travel to someone and bring back some items|
|Transport||Late for meeting!||Yes||?||Transport someone to a station|
|My ship left me behind!||No||?||Transport Person to a capital ship|
|Passenger Transport||Yes||?||Transport someone to a station|
|Chain||Diplomatic Aid*||?||?||Multi-stage (Kill, Escort, Protect Station &/or Transport)|
|A Dangerous Business||?||Scan hostile station and destroy turrets|
|Bodyguard Required||No||Repel attacks and transport a person|
|Destroy||Fragile Salvage||Yes||?||Free up a small ship|
|? Deactivate Station Defences||No||Destroy station turrets|
|? Destroy station add signs||?||?||Destroy station add signs|
|Capship Needs to Go!||No||?|
Emergent piracy: Assassinate a neutral
|Disarmament||Yes||?||Clear away mines|
|Explosive Clearance||Yes||?||Clear away mines|
|Its a Trap||Yes||?||Clear away booby-trapped asteroids|
|Pirate Raiders||Yes||?||Emergent assassination mission|
|Rigged Asteroids||Yes||?||Clear away booby-trapped asteroids|
|Escort||Escort Required||Yes||?||Protect civillian travelling between stations|
|Escort Ship||?||?||Protect civillian travelling between stations|
|Kill||? Destroy a non-hostile ship||?||?||Corporate espionage: Destroy a non-hostile ship|
|Cartel Boss Vulnerable||Yes||?||Assassinate hostiles|
|Catch Dangerous Criminal||Yes||?||Assassinate hostiles|
|Continued Xenon Threats||Yes||?||Assassinate hostiles|
|Halting Marauder Activities||Yes||?||Emergent assassination mission|
|Open Bountry Collection||Yes||?||Assassinate hostiles|
|Stop the Snitch||Yes||?||Assassinate neutral faction target|
|Take Out Enemy Agent||Yes||?||Assassinate hostiles|
|Patrol||Military Patrol||Yes||Multi-zone combat patrol|
|Neighbourhood Watch||Yes||Multi-zone combat patrol|
|Searching for Justice||Yes||?||Assassinate neutral faction target|
|Seeking Patrol Pilots||Yes||Multi-zone combat patrol|
|Xenon Scouts Spotted||?||?||Multi-zone combat patrol|
|Piracy?||? Attack a friendly station||No||?||Piracy: Attack a friendly station|
|? Steal wares from a friendly station||No||?||Piracy: Steal wares from a friendly station|
|Prison Break||No||?||Piracy: Create a distraction by killing civilian ships|
|Mass Chaos||No||?||Piracy: Create a distraction by killing civilian ships|
|Random Acts of Distraction||No||?||Piracy: Create a distraction by killing civilian ships|
|Protect||Criminal Attack Incoming||Yes||Station defence|
|Protection Detail||Yes||?||A 2-stage mission (Patrol and Transport)|
|Protection Needed||?||?||A 2-stage mission (Patrol and Transport)|
|Seeking Protection||Yes||?||A 3-stage mission chain|
|Ship in Distress (HoL DLC only)||Yes||An emergent rescue mission|
|Xenon Attack Incoming||Yes||Station defence|
|Xenon Targeting This Station||Yes||Station defence|
* Diplomatic Aid missions have a video listed here.
** These missions were unintuitive prior to 4.0 but seem better now (if needed, see below for 3.61-era info)
Station Defence missions
Hostile S+M ships tend to arrive via highways or super highways, whilst L and XL targets boost in. All hostiles are hell-bent on attacking the station so best arrive ASAP or you risk missing the action. As of v4.0, the payment is separated into a base reward and a bonus payment in order to minimise the effect of letting stations do all the killing.
With Xenon station defence missions the difficulty is an extremely rough approximation. On normal difficulty there is almost always at least 1 K L fighter and 3 P M fighters independent of mission difficulty. Higher difficulty missions can have anywhere from 2 K L capships to 16 P M fighters. It is worth noting that the fighter wing spawns are extremely biased towards P M fighters, which are the toughest M fighter and deal shield-penetrating damage. Unless the player brings along at least 2 to 3 XL fighter ships it is recommended that the K L capships be left to the station defences.
Be careful around "Badlands Colony" and "Core Dig" stations. They don't have weapons, so if you start a station defence mission for them, you will have to kill all enemies yourself unless a friendly NPC patrol happens by..
This is similar to a chain of station defence missions in that you'll visit multiple zones and the various hostiles that may appear need killing. As with station defence missions, the payment is now separated into a base reward and a bonus payment.
Typically harder and better-paid than station defence or patrol missions. The targets tend to be located relatively far from stations (~20 km is common), which generally gives the player of time to reach the target before any local ships that may be present. At higher difficulties, capital ship targets will often escorted by multiple fighters and 1 or 2 other capitals. Makes for an exciting battle, and often provides good opportunities for boarding.
Ship for sale missions
Small and Medium ships will occasionally be offered for sale as part of a mission. You'll need a Pilot to claim the ship and you'll need to use Long Range Scan mode (Sidebar-1-5) to find it somewhere in a temporary zone in empty space. Tips:
- The abandoned ships have the same ping colour as asteroids so it is easiest to find them in zones without rocks.
- The mission marker disappears at the 50km mark. If you order a ship to your location and select it, you can use it's distance to help you move forward
Ware shortage missions (v3.61-era notes; 4.0 seems to have improved this: see http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?p=4592177#4592177)
You're asked to deliver a specific quantity of <ware> to a station, but this order won't appear in the Trade Window until the mission is accepted. The station in question will probably have a trade offer up for the same ware, but the mission will not complete unless you fulfil the mission's demand (this prevents you auto-completing the mission with a suitable trade that's already on it's way: you'll have to set up or cancel & re-set-up a new trade to fulfil the mission's requirements).
If you don't have a Trade Computer, you'll need to fly within 500m of the trade port to uncover the buy order.
If you have (or can get) access to that ware for the mission's required amount through your own stations or discounts from NPCs (or simply stockpiling), take the mission first, then immediately set your tradeships to gather & deliver <ware> to take advantage of the trade bonus. If you don't do this immediately, the trade offers will update (as the mission commits you to fulfilling <ware> requirements, at a bonus) & you'll lose that opportunity..
(You can currently use <pause> as a slightly cheaty method to gain the maximum amount of profitsss from the latter scenario: <pause> allows you to scroll through & apply actions to a trade or property screen but doesn't update game events (such as movement, combat.. or trade offers!). If you close the screen you'll need to reactivate <pause> to gain access to another (or the same) screen)
Sometimes when there's an existing order for the same ware, the mission order won't appear in the trade window and you'll only see the existing order (normally for a different quantity). If that happens, try making a sale to the existing order and the mission one may appear. If that works, quickly cancel the trade via you ship's info screen; hopefully the mission order will now be present alongside the original (cancelled) trade order. HINT: select <mission station's> details from the map & look at their ware requirements: it's often easier than scrolling through the whole trade screen, even using the filter..
If the existing and <mission> trade orders are for the same quantity of ware, it becomes trickier. In such cases, it's probably best to try to fill both orders to be sure. This is another good reason for having a network of Trade Agents so you can check for existing offers for the ware before accepting a mission (you may gain rep but lose cash by accepting & completing a bad deal). At least the trade offer missions don't currently expire (they're not time-limited), but you'll likely lose profits by not fulfilling their /complete/ requirements ASAP.